To help break the cycle of domestic violence, men must get more involved in speaking out against the problem and become advocates for change.
That was one of the primary messages of the 4th Annual Verizon Foundation Domestic Violence Prevention Summit held Thursday (Sept. 24) at the Omni Mandalay Hotel.
"Domestic violence is not just a women's issue," said actor and Verizon Foundation Community Champion Victor Rivers. "As a child, I was a victim of abuse and saw my father belittle and attack my mother. To break the cycle of violence, I'm calling on men to become more involved in the issue and make it a point to teach their children that domestic violence is never acceptable."
According to a U.S. Department of Justice study on intimate partner violence, 1 out of every 4 women will experience domestic violence.
Rivers and other advocates - including Fred Jealous, founder/director of Breakthrough Men's Community; Ted Bunch, founder, A Call to Men; and Curt Rogers, Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project - took part in a panel discussing how to engage men in the issue.
The summit, titled "Engaging Communities to Help End Domestic Violence," brought together national leaders and local advocates to share success stories and challenges in hopes of finding new solutions that encourage community teamwork and promote healthy relationships.
Dr. Ron Anderson, president and CEO of Parkland Health & Hospital System, served as the keynote speaker. Anderson said community organizations, law enforcement and advocates must work together to decrease incidents of domestic violence and improve services to those in need.
Anderson highlighted Parkland's Victim Intervention Center as one example of how a community organization can take steps to better serve victims of domestic violence. The center, located in the hospital, provides domestic violence survivors an alternative to waiting in an emergency room when seeking treatment.
In addition to providing privacy, the center also offers additional services such as counseling for the victim and his or her family.
Others who spoke at the summit included: Craig Watkins, district attorney, Dallas County; Roberto Canas Jr., presiding judge, Dallas County Criminal Court No. 10; State Sen. Jane Nelson; and Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place.
"Domestic violence is an issue that impacts every segment of society," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "The Verizon Foundation is proud to work with many wonderful organizations throughout the country to aid in the prevention of domestic violence and provide support to those in need."
Verizon Wireless HopeLine Drive Launched
This year's summit also served as the kickoff of Verizon Wireless' North Texas HopeLine® drive to collect no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories to benefit victims of domestic violence. The HopeLine program accepts wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any carrier.
North Texas residents are encouraged to drop off phone donations at their local Verizon Wireless store. Donating an old phone to HopeLine will assist local advocacy agencies working to end the cycle of abuse in the Dallas/Fort Worth community. People can also contribute to the HopeLine program by mailing the wireless phone and accessories using a postage-paid label from the Verizon Wireless Web site at www.verizonwireless.com/hopelinemailinglabel.
Phones given to HopeLine that can be refurbished are sold for reuse, and those that are not salvageable are recycled in an environmentally sound way under a zero landfill policy. Proceeds generated from the sale of the refurbished phones are put toward wireless phones and service for survivors of domestic violence as well as financial grants to nonprofit domestic violence prevention organizations.
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $68 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26 million in combined contributions to nonprofits. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 87 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.